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The Human Resources Transformation

The role of USAID in the world

today is perhaps more impor-

tant than at any other time in

its history.

Former Deputy Administra-

tor Alfonso Lenhardt launched

USAID’s Human Resources

Transformation with this

sentiment as he highlighted

the importance of a highly

functioning HR department to

serve the needs of the agency

and its workforce.

The sentiment was further

driven home in the Feb. 27 letter sent to the House and Senate leadership signed by 121 retired three- and four- star generals and admirals,

conveying their experienced

and strong conviction that

elevating and strengthening

diplomacy and development

alongside defense is critical to

keeping America safe.

USAID FSOs are a critical

frontline defense in prevent-

ing conflict and advancing our

national security interests.

The military needs and wants

strong civilian partners in the

fight against the forces driving

extremism—injustice, insecu-

rity, lack of opportunity and

hopelessness. Success in our



MAY 2017


increasingly complex operat-

ing environment is vested in a

strong Foreign Service.

Honoring this demand and

to better serve current and

future administrations, USAID

has prioritized the need to

make systemic, long-term

improvements to its operating

and management systems.

The HR Transformation

process aims to ensure that

the agency is supporting and

empowering its staff around

the world and thus retaining

quality personnel, as well as

responsibly managing hiring

systems and authorities so

that the agency has the staff

it needs.

Recognizing that people

are the source of the agency’s

strength, efforts at transform-

ing HR to bring meaningful

and lasting change to the way

USAIDmanages its human

resources are beginning to

take shape. The reduction in

force (RIF) of the 1990s, com-

bined with USAID’s operating

expense restrictions and inad-

equate workforce planning,

spawned both excessive tem-

porary hiring and diminished

professional development and

training for career officers.

The Development Lead-

ership Initiative of 2008

provided some relief to the

extreme shortage of career

FSOs. Predictably, the rapid

onboarding of the DLI career

candidates strained structural

weaknesses and highlighted

many pain points, which are

now being addressed by the

HR Transformation.

Member concerns have

repeatedly cited lack of trans-

parency in both the Foreign

Service assignment system

and promotion system. AFSA

has consistently called for

transparency in these two vital

aspects of career manage-

ment to help strengthen

retention, development of

expertise and increased

morale at USAID.

AFSA has also consis-

tently called for the agency

to include FSO input in the

design of any changes that

affect their lives.

It is gratifying to see labor

and management working

together toward the common

goal of designing new pro-

cesses that improve agency

operations. FSOs have been

active participants in work-

ing groups on these initia-

tives and, as direct users of

both systems, have uniquely

well-informed perspectives

on what is working and what

is not.

The roots of such col-

laboration lie deep within the

democratic heritage of our

people and our nation, and I

strongly encourage all USAID

FSOs to keep up their enthu-

siasm and commitment to

participating in the redesign of

these core components.

We hope that clearer infor-

mation on assignment bidding

and performance manage-

ment systems will soon be

available, along with new tools

to help FSOs navigate the


As the redesign of both

the assignment and perfor-

mance management process

continues, please take the

time to review the docu-

ments and webinars posted

on the Office of Human

Capital and Talent Manage-

ment website, and share

your thoughts with AFSA at



Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA USAID VP.


or (202) 712-1631




AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson

welcomed StephenWixom as the new FAS Representative.

Consent Agenda:

The Governing Board approved the

consent agenda item, which was: the Feb. 1 Governing Board

meeting minutes.

FSGB Appointments:

On behalf of the Executive Commit-

tee, Retiree Vice President Ambassador (ret.) Tom Boyatt

moved that the AFSAGoverning Board approve six appli-

cants for consideration at the initial meeting with other

foreign affairs agencies to determine the Foreign Service

Grievance Board appointment recommendations to make to

the Secretary of State. The motion was approved.


AFSAGoverning Board Meeting, March 1, 2017